petej + workfare   107

Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not. - The New York Times
But rather than hold itself accountable, America reverses roles by blaming the poor for their own miseries.

Here is the blueprint. First, valorize work as the ticket out of poverty, and debase caregiving as not work. Look at a single mother without a formal job, and say she is not working; spot one working part time and demand she work more. Transform love into laziness. Next, force the poor to log more hours in a labor market that treats them as expendables. Rest assured that you can pay them little and deny them sick time and health insurance because the American taxpayer will step in, subsidizing programs like the earned-income tax credit and food stamps on which your work force will rely. Watch welfare spending increase while the poverty rate stagnates because, well, you are hoarding profits. When that happens, skirt responsibility by blaming the safety net itself. From there, politicians will invent new ways of denying families relief, like slapping unrealistic work requirements on aid for the poor.

As I watched this young man identify with Smith’s character, it dawned on me that what his parents, preachers, teachers, coaches and guidance counselors had told him for motivation — “Study hard, stick to it, dream big and you will be successful” — had been internalized as a theory of life.


We need a new language for talking about poverty. “Nobody who works should be poor,” we say. That’s not good enough. Nobody in America should be poor, period. No single mother struggling to raise children on her own; no formerly incarcerated man who has served his time; no young heroin user struggling with addiction and pain; no retired bus driver whose pension was squandered; nobody. And if we respect hard work, then we should reward it, instead of deploying this value to shame the poor and justify our unconscionable and growing inequality. “I’ve worked hard to get where I am,” you might say. Well, sure. But Vanessa has worked hard to get where she is, too.
USA  economy  poverty  jobs  pay  wages  employment  outsourcing  zeroHours  insecurity  precarity  socialMobility  workEthic  welfare  workfare  TrumpDonald  blame 
september 2018 by petej
Categorising the poor
"It is time to abandon the failed ideas of the past once and for all. Ignore the work-shy: they are not worthy of the time and resources we spend on them. Instead, we should concentrate our attention on helping - not compelling - those who genuinely want to work to find useful, fulfilling and well-paid jobs. Enabling people to make the best use of their skills and talents is far and away the best way of creating a productive, vibrant economy. 

We should also stop trying to decide whether someone “deserves” social support. We have been trying to distinguish between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor for over five hundred years, and we are no better able to make that judgement now than we were in the fourteenth century, or the sixteenth, or the nineteenth. We inevitably end up denying support to those who desperately need it. 

Let us give up this fruitless attempt to judge people's motives. Simply provide everyone with a basic income so that they can afford to live, then let them get on with whatever they want to do."
welfare  workfare  work  labour  morality  unemployment  skivers  poverty  discipline  sanctions  history  basicIncome  punishment  deserving  undeserving 
may 2014 by petej
New Left Project | Articles | Social Security Has Never Been So Insecure
"Food banks, far from meeting the needs of people when the welfare state has failed to do so, in fact replicate the conditionality of the welfare state. Moreover they simply do not have the resources to meet the demand on them. They are part of our materialising post-welfare dystopia in which basic needs are not met and people live with an intense and pervasive insecurity. "
welfare  benefits  universalCredit  sanctions  cuts  precarity  workfare  austerity  poverty  control  discipline  work  unemployment 
october 2013 by petej
George Osborne in crackdown on jobless costs | Politics | The Guardian
"How's it going, Dave?"
"We're fucked, Gideon. Labour are getting their act together. And the old school racists are going over to UKIP. What can we do?"
"Don't panic, Dave. I have a plan. Putting the boot into the unemployed. It's always a surefire winner."
"Haven't we, umm, done as much of that as we can get away with?"
"Pffft. We're only just getting started. That thickie IDS just doesn't say things the right way. Leave this to me."
welfare  benefits  workfare  unemployment  OsborneGeorge  WorkProgramme  unpaidLabour  unpaidWork  demonisation  unwagedLabour 
september 2013 by petej
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